Inside new Dallas bar Goodbye Horses, where ‘nothing is high-brow’

Do you ever feel like eating and drinking in Dallas is such a thing? You make a reservation, you dress the part, you pay the price. New East Dallas watering hole Goodbye Horses is none of that.

This no-frills sports bar on SMU Boulevard is a simple place serving bar food, beer and cocktails. “Nothing is high-brow here,” says owner Julian Barsotti. He’s already seen college kids, families, and sports fanatics pull open that squeaky door and pile into Goodbye Horses’ booths since the bar opened in late May.

Before sports bar Goodbye Horses opened on SMU Boulevard in 2022, this restaurant space was Banh Shop and Sumo Shack. Neither lasted very long.(Liesbeth Powers/Special Contributor)

The bar is sort of a meet-up spot for Barsotti and his buddies, and yeah, you’re welcome to join, too. A handful of his friends and investors decorated it with sports memorabilia they found in boxes in their parents’ attics. One bathroom wall is covered in old basketball cards, and the bar has figurines of the 1992 Dream Team, still in the box, up on a shelf. Barsotti was just glad to find a new home for his 9-year-old son’s collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the ’90s. He bought them all from eBay, not cheap, “and now he’s over them,” Barsotti says of his son.

Those vintage turtles, and all the other weirdo decor the bar will eventually collect, make Goodbye Horses feel lived in.

The food is not serious, but it is well-thought out. Chef Ryan Ferguson — who works full-time at Barsotti’s beloved Italian restaurant Nonna — created the menu.

Bites include queso, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, a smashburger, a Chicago-style hot dog and a grilled cheese with pickles, in honor of Highland Park Pharmacy.

Some of Goodbye Horses bar food includes a smashburger, shrimp po'boy Domilise, Chicago dog,...
Some of Goodbye Horses bar food includes a smashburger, shrimp po’boy Domilise, Chicago dog, wings, alongside cocktails like a Teeling boilermaker, a paloma and more.(Liesbeth Powers/Special Contributor)
There's a small shrine to Jimmy Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys in the middle of the bar at...
There’s a small shrine to Jimmy Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys in the middle of the bar at Goodbye Horses in Dallas.(Liesbeth Powers/Special Contributor)

Soon, Ferguson will add Rhode Island style pizza to the menu. (And we thought we’d run through all the styles of pizza, didn’t we, Dallas? We’ve got Neapolitan style and Detroit style here. We used to have Roman pizza at Sprezza and Chicago deep dish from Gino’s, but those closed. Add Rhode Island style pizza to the list of pies to try.)

These pizzas use a biga starter, which is cold fermented for several days before the dough lands in the oven. Chef Ferguson describes his pizzas as “crispy and airy.” They come topped with mozzarella cheese, then red sauce.

Beyond the regular food and drink menu, Dallas pitmaster Matt Dallman will pull up his smoker and make barbecue in the parking lot on the weekends, until it sells out.

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Customers walking or driving by will see the red neon horse head hanging above Goodbye...
Customers walking or driving by will see the red neon horse head hanging above Goodbye Horses’ patio.(Liesbeth Powers/Special Contributor)

Bartenders will serve “heavy pours, like you’d expect at a college bar,” Barsotti says. It’s the kind of place where most customers will know what they want to drink before they walk in.

One of the most amusing extras is that the owners of Goodbye Horses are taping up customers’ prom photos on one wall, proof that there will be “nothing sparse” about this bar, Barsotti says.

“Anyone can contribute to it,” he says. It’s time to go digging into that old photo album.

Goodbye Horses is at 5629 SMU Blvd., Dallas. It opened in late May 2022.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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